WHEN Taylor Adams arrived at Collingwood from Greater Western Sydney last October, Scott Pendlebury issued him a firm challenge.
The 26-year-old told the former Giant it was up to him to take the spots of the Magpies' 2010 premiership winning midfielders.
With 31 disposals on debut for the Pies in Wednesday night's two-point NAB Challenge loss to Geelong, Adams has already made a strong case to suggest he'll be able to eventually do that.
"One of the things I spoke to Taylor about when he first got here was that I expected him to be pushing guys like myself, Beamsy, Bally, Swanny, and push us out of the midfield and take our spots because that's going to make us better," Pendlebury said on Tuesday at the Magpies' Australia Post Community Camp in Kinglake.
"He's definitely put in the work over the summer, he played really well the other night and to play like that in his first game for the club I think he got respect straight away from the boys."
The Pies had a different pre-season this year under new fitness boss Bill Davoren, steering clear of an overseas altitude training camp that had become commonplace for the club.
Pendlebury said while the process had been a step away from what they Pies were used to, he was impressed with the way they players had all "fronted up, toed the line and done what's asked".
With the likes of Ben Kennedy, Brodie Grundy, Jackson Ramsay and Jack Frost joining Adams in impressing Pendlebury last week against the Cats, he said the future looked bright for this season despite the turnover of experienced players.
He implied too much had been made of the Pies' departures over the off-season, which included Heath Shaw, Alan Didak, Ben Johnson, Andrew Krakouer and Darren Jolly, and said the new additions had picked things up quickly.
"I think the young guys are the key," he said.
"If you can get those playing good footy, not only at AFL level but VFL, if they're pushing up and putting pressure on the senior guys it holds you in a good spot.
"Every year at footy clubs there's turnover and I remember after we won the Grand Final I think we made the most list changes ever.
"You get used to that constant turnover and I think it's about the new blokes that come into your footy club, how quick they pick up on what you're trying to achieve.
"I think the last couple of years we've done that well. The new guys have come in and really jumped on board with what we're trying to achieve as a football club."